Hydroplane and what to do if it happens

hydroplane and how to avoid it

When it rains in Lake Havasu City, AZ there is a significant chance to hydroplane in your car.  Hydroplaning is a loss of traction to the tires.  The lack of traction lifts your car and you’re literally moving forward on top of the water.   It only takes a small fraction of rain to create the conditions for hydroplaning, and during the monsoon season, there is dramatically more.

Plus the roads have been very hot, and this allows oil from the blacktop to come to the surface and create a slick coating.

The torrential downpours can also create limited visibility. Both of these conditions contribute to hazardous driving conditions. We encourage our customers to drive smarter and here are a few ways to help you when the driving conditions are wet and slick.

Drive smarter

Smart people adjust their strategy around changing conditions. Weather is one of those things. When driving in the rain or any inclement weather be careful and slow down.  Here are some other tips:

  • Keep your distance. You never know when the person ahead of you will spin out.
  • Do not tailgate—especially in limited visibility.
  • Slow down. Take corners slower.
  • Be patient. Expect extra traffic.

Use your headlights

Keep your lights on while driving in the rain, during the day and the night. In many states, laws require headlights during rain or whenever visibility is less than 1000 feet. That is about a quarter of a mile or three and one-third football fields.

Newer tires, excellent breaks, and wipers

  • Threadbare tires are always dangerous. Keep your traction at top performance. Maintain relatively new tires with deep tread. Or, get some all-weather tires. This should help if you hydroplane.
  • Get regular brake checks. (we suggest this even if you never get rain!)
  • Keep your windshield wiper blades ready for rainy days—before the rain comes.  A blurry windshield will only add to the danger already present if it’s raining hard.

Don’t use cruise control

Rainy weather demands full attention. Keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your feet ready for action.
If you hydroplane, cruise control can cause you to lose control. Also, the lack of traction may cause the cruise control to accelerate if you go into a hydroplane.

What to do if you hydroplane?

  • First, do not panic.
  • Ease off the accelerator and continue driving steadily forward.
  • Do not slam on the breaks.

Here’s a great video from Consumer Reports

According to Consumer Reports, hydroplaning is one of the scariest experiences a driver will face.

In the video below, Consumer Reports’ experts shows how a car hydroplanes and, more importantly, how to regain control of your wheels.

 

ATV vs UTV: Which is Best for You

ATV vs UTV

With the Sand Sports Super Show happening this weekend we thought we could take a look at the difference between an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) and a Utility Vehicle (UTV). The cooler weather is approaching for Lake Havasu and the Mohave desert. With this will come more road trips and adventures into the desert.

Location

The first thing that will factor into your decision to get a UTV or ATV is how will you be using it and in what terrain. If you need to be flexible and make quick turns, then the ATV is your best bet. For instance, it’s excellent in wooded areas where tight turns are necessary. The ATV is also great for hauling cargo when you are making lots of stops and need to hop off and back on a lot. On the other hand, the ATV is more physically demanding to steer and drive, and you must balance to control and turn the vehicle.

Also of note, ATVs can be several thousand dollars less than a UTV, so if you’re on a budget, the former would be your best bet. If you’re looking at a used model, we have a blog addressing the issues on how best to shop for an ATV. (this blog can also apply to UTVs!)

Hauling

When it comes to hauling things an ATV can undoubtedly pull a little trailer which can help. The UTV, however, will include a bed which will make the UTV more efficient and more comfortable drive. But, the UTV won’t be able to make the sharp turns and get into the tight spaces that an ATV can.

So, if you decide to the go for the UTV but your trailer to haul it around is made for your shorter ATV, you will need to get a new trailer. Or you can get a toy hauler extension which will add up to 18″ to your current trailer. You can click here for more information.

Britton’s is here to help you with your car, truck, RV, ATV, or UTV.  Call us to get the best repair and maintenance in Lake Havasu City, AZ.  (928) 505-3535

What To Do When Your Car Has a Recall

What to do if you get a recall notice on your car

What does it mean when your car has a recall?

First of all, with a recall, every automaker has issued a recall from time to time. General Motors issued a massive recall of twenty million vehicles back in 2014.

Generally, when the company that made your vehicle issues a recall, you’ll get a notice in the mail. It’s usually a postcard outlining the problem and urging you to take the car to a dealer to get it fixed. If the safety issue is severe, you might also get a phone call.

When you get a recall notice please remember, this may be an issue dealing with the safety of your car. It’s a wise idea to get the car fixed as soon as you can. The time it takes to will vary. A software update might take only minutes, while significant work on the fuel system or the brakes or the could take a few hours. Many dealerships have a comfortable waiting area and some may even offer you a free loaner car.

An example of a recall

Ford Motor currently has a recall for nearly 2 million pickup trucks to fix a seat belt defect that could trigger vehicle fires. This recall covers one of Ford’s best sellers: the F-150 pickup truck. This line of trucks is the best selling model in the US.  However, the

The move came after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched an investigation into the matter in early August after receiving reports of five fires due to the defect, including three that engulfed and destroyed the vehicle. – USA Today, Sept. 6, 2018

What will a recall cost me?

More importantly, remember this: the only thing that will cost you is your time. With recalls, automakers are obligated to pay all of the costs of the repairs that are part of the recalls. Recalls are like any other repair job for their service department — except, in this case, the manufacturer will be paying the bill.

For more information on automobile recalls and to see if your vehicle has had one in the last 15 year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a website.

For all other vehicle maintenance in Lake Havasu City and the surrounding area you can call Britton’s Auto, Truck, and RV Repair Center at
(928) 505-3535

Protect Your Car From Rodents

protecting your car from rodents

OH RATS!

In order to protect your car in Lake Havasu, you need to do more than just keep it clean on the outside.  In the winter and summer, we must also contend with rodents deciding to build their homes under the hoods of your car.  This could be squirrels, mice, even rats.  While they are in there trying to keep warm, they also might decide to eat at the buffet that is you wires, rubber, or even filters.

The rodents might not even be hungry, but merely trying to keep control of the growth of their teeth.  Whatever it is that they do while in there, one thing is for sure.  They must go!  The damage done will wreaks havoc on your electrical system and make for costly replacements and repairs.

Seal up the holes

If you park in the garage you need to be sure they have no way in.  Even a hole as small as two inches will be like an open door to these rascals.  Walk around the outside of the building where you store your car and look for any holes.  You can try sealing the holes with stainless steel mesh, aluminum flashing, or sheet metal.  Anything that the unwanted guests cannot chew thru is a good way to protect your car.

Taste deterrent

Another option is to spray the wires and tubing with a taste/smell that will not be appetizing to the critters.  A good option is bitter apple spray (vets and pet stores carry this) another is hot pepper spray.  Of course, you will want to check with your mechanic before you douse your engine with anything.

If you have already found evidence of critter damage, make sure you gently sweep away any nesting materials.  You do not want to start the car and have a fire start driving down the highway.  You can see if the animals will leave on their own.  By opening up, the hood for a couple of days will take away their private cozy nest.

Prevention

The best option for controlling rodent damage is prevention.  Do not park your car near firewood, piles of brush, or leave it sitting for long periods.  Take your car for all its scheduled maintenance visits.  For more tips, Consumer Reports has some more ideas.

Britton’s Auto, Truck, and RV Repair is here to help!  Call to make an appointment so we can keep your vehicle maintained and free of little furry critters.  (928) 505-3535

 

 

Some Safety Tips While You’re Riding Your ATV

ATV Safety Tips

ATV Safety

Nearly all outdoor activities have specialized equipment and riding an ATV safety is no exception. Football players have their helmets and padding, soccer players have shin guards, and ATV riders have items to protect them from the top of their head to the tips of their toes.

Riding and enjoying your ATV requires equipment that protects you from flying debris and from any time of fall you may have. You can never be 100% free from injury but putting on the right equipment will undoubtedly give you the best chance should any safety problems occur. One should never go out on their ATV without eye protection, a helmet, gloves, boots, and their legs and arms covered.

Pre-Ride Inspection

Before each ride, an inspection is crucial because once you’re off-road the terrain can be brutal to your vehicle. Checking your ATV out will lower the chances of getting stranded or being injured. Thus ensuring your ATV will last you a long time. Remember proper maintenance is the key to longevity and keeping the value of your vehicle up.

Ultimately your owner’s manual will give you the best advice on what to do. We would like to share a quick review you can do when you are getting ready for outdoor ATV adventure. (Make sure you talk to a mechanic that knows ATV maintenance for the most detailed inspection)

Quick Checklist

  • Air pressure – this is an easy one and is very important. Your manual will be the best resource, but as a guideline, you should stay within 2 to 10 psi. You’ll need a low-pressure gauge because the one you use on your car will not register this low of a number.
  • Appearance: do you see any oil leaks, rust, or loose nuts and bolts.
  • Brakes: This is a crucial area! Make sure these operate smooth and make any adjustments suggested in the manual.
  • Cables & Throttle: check all your controls to make sure they work properly. Also, look for any wear and tear that might affect the ability for them to function correctly.
  • Engine Stop Switch: Is it doing its job of stopping? Sounds simple but you want to be sure the engine shuts off when necessary.
  • State Laws: It’s important to note that every state has laws governing who can ride and where you can ride. Here’s an excellent resource from the ATV Safety Institute to help you learn what requirements you need to know for your state.

 

 

Booster Seats: What’s Required in Arizona

Booster seat laws in Arizona

Booster Seats

Let’s go over the fundamentals of Arizona’s booster seat requirements for this week’s Britton’s blog. If you have little ones, you know that you need a car seat as soon as they’re born. Then once your sweet baby reaches approximately eight years, they need to transition into a child booster seat.

The next step for children that have outgrown harness equipped safety restraints is the booster seat.  This seat was introduced because the larger built-in seat belts are not adequate to keep little ones properly restrained. Children ages 4-8 are 45 percent less likely to sustain injuries in crashes if they are in boosters.

According to Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), the law requires children between ages 5 and 7 to ride in a booster seat unless they are 4 feet 9 inches tall. Once a child is 4 feet 9 inches or taller, they are no longer required to ride in a booster seat, regardless of age.

The above quote is the legal requirement or the minimum necessary. However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) states that children should ride in boosters until a vehicle safety belt fits correctly by itself. For some kids, that doesn’t happen until age 12 or so.

 

How do I Select the Right One?

So, how do you know what is the best booster seat for you? The Insurance Institute for High Safety has created a rating system for most new booster seats. The ratings range from Best Bet to Good Bet to Not Recommended.  Thirteen out of the 16 booster seats tested were given the Best Bet rating from the 2017 market.

“You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a quality booster seat. Unlike more complicated harness-equipped restraints, a booster is a simple device that doesn’t require any special features to do its job,” says IIHS Senior Research Engineer Jessica Jermakian. “Boosters need to elevate the child and guide the lap belt so that it lies flat on the upper thighs and not up against the tummy and position the shoulder belt so that it fits snugly across the middle of the shoulder.”

Because installation is not required for boosters you may have questions. Lake Havasu City has an excellent web page with information on Safety Seat Checkup.

Britton’s Auto, Truck, and RV Center are here to help you!  Please call us or stop by with any questions. We look forward to helping you.